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Eliot races the London Marathon - his story

  • Posted October 08, 2022

Eliot races the London Marathon - his story

Welcome to Eliot, who has had a chance to recover from the marathon - and write his race report!

So, tell us, Eliot, how did the marathon go?
The London Marathon is not just another race, it’s a whole weekend.

I had been training for the marathon since March, but it didn’t feel real until I arrived at the Expo to collect my number. Seeing my name, then a little GBR underneath, did make me smile.

The blue start was also where the elite men and women started this year, so I watched the elite men, including Bekele, warm up. I had heard that three of the England Lionesses were starting the race (Leah Williamson, Jill Scott and Ellen White),but I didn’t expect them to be in the road with us, so that made the start special – and probably made me head off a bit faster than planned.

The first part of the race was fairly dull. Apart from passing a Minion and a novelty-size trainer, the actual course could have been any other race. The race probably gets going about 5 miles in as the crowds build before the Cutty Sark. Here the crowd was fantastic, and as I was still feeling fresh I let myself enjoy the moment. I still felt good at halfway, crossing Tower Bridge, where again the huge crowds were crazy, unlike any other race I’ve been in.

Between Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf I caught a glimpse of the front of the race. I couldn’t see who was leading, but it was amazing to see the leading pack. Doing the lap of Canary Wharf I was bang on pace, and was feeling confident. Then at mile 18 I made the mistake of taking on a gel that I had not practised with, from Lucozade. Leaving Canary Wharf and heading towards the Tower of London, things got hard. My pace slowed and I could feel lactic building fast in my legs. I took one of my own gels, which helped a bit, but I knew then that my race was over in terms of going for the time I wanted.

Once I was on the Embankment and could see Big Ben, this gave me a mental boost, as I knew that the finish was in sight. Someone shouted, ‘Just a parkrun left!’ to encourage me. I can’t remember much about the run along the Embankment other than Big Ben never seemed to get any nearer!

The final mile – from Big Ben up Birdcage Walk towards the Mall – was a bit of a blur. All I can remember is that my legs were in pain, it was getting warm, and that ‘one mile to go’ sign must have been lying!

Making the final turn onto the Mall was special. In my head, I put in a sprint finish, but in reality it wouldn’t have looked at all fast!

I had done it. All the miles in training had been worth it – I had just run the London Marathon!

What an experience – and probably the biggest race I have ever done.

What was the atmosphere like, and did it help you?
It’s true that the atmosphere does help. Mile 22/23 really hurt me, and in any other race I would have likely dropped out, but the atmosphere and crowd kept me going. At my lowest point in the race – when my target time was long gone and I still had a couple of miles to go – I stopped at a water stop. This random guy gave me a bottle of water and shouted at me, ‘Go on, mate, you’ve got this.’ The random man turned out to be Anthony Joshua, and he gave me a real boost.

What was the hardest point?
The final tunnel before the Embankment. There was no crowd at all, it felt like the tunnel went on forever, and the slight incline out of the tunnel felt steeper than the hill at the Oxford Chiltern!

And finally, would you do it again?
No! Never!

Thanks so much, Eliot, for sharing your marathon story with us. And congratulations again!

Photo courtesy of Hayley Winter.